[Marxism] What Dominika Siemińska says about the graves in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Ukraine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 26 16:11:41 MDT 2019

If you've been following this admittedly complex thread, you might 
recall that Furr held up the report of Dominika Siemińska as absolving 
Stalin. According to him, if this Polish archaeologist found physical 
evidence indicting the Nazis, how can anybody blame Stalin?

I just received a PDF copy of a book titled "The Materiality of Troubled 
Pasts: Archaeologies of Conflicts and Wars" from one of the 3 editors. 
Generally, I have access to just about everything from Columbia or other 
research libraries through Borrow Direct or ILL but in this case the 
book was not available from Columbia or Amazon.

I was interested in an article by Dominika Siemińska in the book titled 
"Archaeological Studies on World War II Totalitarianism in the Yard of a 
Mediaeval Hill Fort in Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Ukraine". I plan to give it 
a thorough review but in the meantime this excerpt from the article will 
give you an idea of Furr's reliability:

In the case of Grave no. 4, excavated artefacts, the method of 
execution, and observations of taphonomical and post-depositional 
processes allow us to classify the remains as murder victims of the NKVD 
from 1940 or the first half of 1941. The majority were men as confirmed 
by recovered objects, garment fragments and anthropological analyses 
(Iwanek 2013). Footwear examples with elements cut off and primitive 
repairs can indicate that these persons had spent quite long periods in 
prison. It is possible they were the people building defensive 
embankments in the area of Volodymyr. On the one hand, objects such as 
large quantities of coins, knives or tool sets could not belong to 
people imprisoned for a long period and, therefore the victims could 
have been people murdered directly after being arrested (Głowacki 1997: 
21–23). On the other hand, fragments of uniforms and military equipment 
indicate soldiers and policemen were part of this group of victims.

Studying Grave no. 5, we can suppose that the execution coincided with 
the earliest dates of coins found with the year 1939. The 
characteristics of execution itself and the method of burial indicate 
the methods of NKVD. Most skulls have bullet inlets in occipital bones 
and their diameter is about 8 mm. Probably, guns in the calibre of 7.62 
or 7.65 mm were used. The individuals were shot in the back of the head 
and at a location outside the grave. All were adult men either civilian 
or soldier. These facts are confirmed by the garment fragments, 
footwear, equipment, and personal objects recovered by excavation. These 
people may have been representatives of administration, officials, 
functionaries, political and social activists, landowners or soldiers, 
all murdered after the Soviet army entered the territory and new 
authority structures were established (Filar 2012: 40–42; Bass 2013).

More information about the Marxism mailing list